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Keele, UK – I b****y well knew it. Swearing really can lessen pain, according to scientists at Keele University.
Dr Richard Stephens, who led the research, said he came up with the idea for the study after he hit his thumb with a hammer while building a garden shed.
Volunteers were asked to submerge a hand in iced water while repeating one word from a list of “five words you might use after hitting yourself on the thumb with a hammer” or “five words to describe a table”.
The results indicated that people who swore in response to pain could cope with being hurt for nearly 50 percent longer than those who minded their language.
On average, the 66 volunteers could bear the iced water for nearly two minutes when swearing – but lasted just one minute 15 seconds when they kept it clean.
Stephens said he had expected to find the opposite result.
The researchers reckon the pain-reducing effect results from the body’s natural fight-or-flight response. The heart rates of the volunteers increased when repeating the swearword, showing an increase in aggression.
Well, it’s cheaper than f***ing aspirin.
The research is reported in NeuroReport.